Issue 64 is a bad deal for Lakewood, right now.

It fails a test of long-term, big-picture values just as badly.

In the big picture, our communities must prioritize sustainability in the decisions we make. In many ways walkable, densely populated Lakewood is a model for more sustainable development—but Issue 64 turns away from a sustainable future and back toward failed models of the past.

Sustainability inherently requires both local action, and a holistic outlook, and Issue 64 should be judged on its local and its regional impacts. In assessing sustainability, shutting down Lakewood’s publicly owned hospital and opening a private hospital in Avon cannot be judged separately.

Avon is not only much smaller than Lakewood, it’s also much more sprawling. The population density of Lakewood is more than 9,000 people per square mile, while Avon’s is barely 1,000. As a result, Lakewood has the highest walk score in Ohio, while Avon ranks in the bottom five.

Lakewood is crisscrossed by transit routes, while the the planned Avon Hospital is miles from any transit line:

RTA routes through Lakewood
RTA routes through Lakewood
Lorain County Transit and planned Avon Hospital
Lorain County Transit and planned Avon Hospital

Compact, walkable cities like Lakewood are healthier for individuals, more economically productive, and much more compatible with the low-carbon future necessary to keep our planet safe. Pushing needed services and Lakewood’s largest employer to a car-dependent landscape would take us backward, not forward.

Even if part of this plan is outside the direct control of Lakewood, we can still pursue better options than simply conforming to a harmful trend. Lakewood can continue to offer a better alternative, by rejecting Issue 64 and its restricted future. Investors recognize the attraction of cities like Lakewood. We can defeat the noncompete clause on our hospital property, and restore real healthcare as well as job opportunities.

We deserve a better deal, and so does our future. Vote against Issue 64.

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